In one of his most famous posts from the “Startup Lessons” series, entrepreneur and angel investor, Mark Suster, concluded that if the world were comprised of rabbit, deer and elephant companies only, startups should be deer hunters.
Rabbits, the smallest of the hunting possibilities, are deceiving, quick and too many, often proving to not be worth the effort it takes to capture them. The deer, on the other hand, are, as Mark says, “not so big that they can make huge demands on you for your development resources or customer support. They can barely get you to agree to make changes to your standard terms & conditions. If you catch lots of them you’re not beholden to one big one that if they cancel their order you’d be devastated.”
In a world of rabbit, deer and elephant companies, #startups should be deer hunters. @msuster Click To Tweet
We feel that startups need to look past the deer and focus on the elephant. Why do we think this when Mark says they are “hard to catch and take whole teams of people to bring down”? Because if you are a startup looking to validate your solution on a large scale, a PoC with a large elephant of an enterprise is often times the only way to do it.
We are here to help you look past those deer and find and lock down those elephants.
Get Inside their Heads
When releasing a product or starting marketing campaigns, companies recognize the importance of understanding their target audiences pains to ensure they address them. Well, when looking for an enterprise to run a PoC with, this critical step is often skipped and could have a negative impact on your startup’s ability to secure a PoC with the elephant-enterprise of your dreams.
When building a marketing strategy to promote your PoC to enterprises, it is important to go through the same steps you would take in your full go-to-market strategy aimed at your consumers, even if they are not truly your end consumers in the long run.
Dig deep to understand the pains of your potential PoC partner. By doing so and being able to show an enterprise that you understand their unique needs and the ways that your PoC can solve those needs, you are far more likely to find a listening ear than a slammed door.
Focus on the Simplicity of Integration
When pitching your startup to end users, it might be effective to spout off the features and key differentiators that make your product worth using, however, if you are looking to lure in a big enterprise for a PoC, your initial pitch needs to be modified slightly.
Enterprises looking for a collaboration often care less about the features and more about the integration process. While the prooV platform simplifies this with a one-time integration to our secure system, startups that work outside the prooV system will find that in order to appeal to the elephants in the world, they will need to highlight the unique differentiators that make their solution easy to integrate with.
Ultimately, the team within the enterprise that will be tasked with integrating a startup’s solution with their ecosystem will have a tremendous amount of power on the acceptance and eventual use of the solution. Because of this power, the pitch that startups make when talking to enterprises needs to meet the immediate fears of the IT and development personnel within the enterprise and assure them that the integration will not impact their existing ecosystem and security.
Downscale the Digital Marketing
Before you stop all digital marketing efforts and wonder why your company isn’t surrounded by potential enterprises to collaborate with, know that we’re not saying you don’t need digital marketing – just that it might not be as effective when looking to bring in the big enterprises you want to launch a PoC with.
The first reason that digital just won’t do is that when launching a PoC with an enterprise, the product is often not ready for massive digital marketing, or your startup might not have the funds or capacity to support such traffic.
Beyond that, it is important to remember that as a startup, you are not just selling your product to the enterprise, but rather you are selling your team to the decision makers of the enterprise, and that is a sale that cannot be made online.
Simply put, you need to build personal relationships with the decision makers in order to build a level of trust that will get them to take a leap of faith with your products. As a PoC-as-a-service platform, we try to reduce the time wasted trying to find the key people within an enterprise by bringing together companies that recognize that they need a solution with startups that have the potential to give them the solution, however, even then personal relationships must be built and nurtured over time.
Build Brand Awareness
What digital marketing can do for startups looking to secure a PoC with an enterprise is build awareness, and that is a strategy worth developing in order to attract the elephants.
Instead of traditional digital marketing campaigns and utilization of landing pages and email marketing, startups looking to promote their solution to a particular enterprise and run a PoC can invest in hyper targeted digital campaigns to increase brand awareness.
By pinpointing the companies you are looking to work with and the key decision makers within the company, a startup can launch a guerilla-type digital campaign to push articles about their success, investment rounds and other buzz-worthy news that will increase their trustworthiness and has the potential to bring the enterprise one step closer to agreeing to a PoC.
Look for Elephants in their Natural Environment
Ultimately you could have the greatest solution with the easiest integration and still not have a single elephant sized PoC secured. Why? Because you’re looking for elephants where the deer and rabbits play.
If you are looking to run a PoC with a large scale enterprise, you have to be in their playing field. That means the right corporate events, the niche meetups, and the prooV platform!